Bucs working again Leonard Fournette had one of many higher all-around seasons of his profession in 2021. After changing into a playoff hero and incomes his “Lombardi Lenny” nickname, he blossomed into a real three-down again for Tampa Bay over the course of final season.
He out-snapped Ronald Jones II by a large margin and took over the reins of the backfield. In reality, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich just lately talked about how exhausting it’s to take him off the sphere.
“Why it’s powerful to get Lenny off the sphere [is] he’s a three-down again. He’s a sensible man. He and Tom [Brady] can play ball. They’ll play ball collectively,” Leftwich stated. “That’s why it’s exhausting to actually get him off the sphere, due to what he brings and the connection that him and Tom [have]. I feel it’s distinctive.”
Fournette’s chops as a receiving working again actually have been the important thing in 2021. He ran for 812 yards on 180 carries (4.5 avg.) and located the tip zone eight instances on the bottom. However as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, he was a key cog in Tampa Bay’s offense. In 14 video games, he totaled 69 catches for 454 yards and two scores, marking the second-best receiving season of his profession. His 1,266 whole yards and 10 whole touchdowns paint the image of him proving that he’s a whole again.
So, given the season that he simply put collectively and the truth that he’s contemporary off of signing a three-year, $21 million deal to stay with the Bucs, Fournette might be getting plenty of love nationally, proper? Nicely, not so quick – at the least within the case of Professional Soccer Focus’ 2022 working again rankings and tiers.
No Love For Fournette In PFF Rankings
Ben Linsey of PFF launched the location’s working again rankings and tiers earlier in Might, and Fournette’s title is notably absent. Now, nobody would’ve anticipated to see him within the “Elite” tier with the likes of Jonathan Taylor or Nick Chubb. He wouldn’t essentially match within the “Elite When At Full Energy However Slowed By Accidents” class both. Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Prepare dinner and Alvin Kamara fill out these spots. However from there, you’ll anticipate Fournette to be within the combine.
PFF’s third tier is comprised of “Good Starters.” The No. 7 general spot goes to Aaron Jones, then Austin Ekeler and Joe Mixon fill out the No. 8 and No. 9 slots, respectively. However then that’s it. Fournette, the person of greater than 1,200 whole yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns final yr, doesn’t rank within the “Good Starters” classification.
The rankings record then goes on to rank tier 4 working backs, that are “Elusive Backs On Rookie Offers.” Clearly, Fournette isn’t on his rookie deal, so he’s understandably not included there both. Meaning Josh Jacobs, Najee Harris and Javonte Williams occupy the No. 10, No. 11 and No. 12 spots on the record.
Tier 5 is made up of gamers who’re needing to bounce again from damage, which doesn’t describe Fournette. That leaves Saquon Barkley, Chris Carson and Ezekiel Elliott to take the subsequent three slots on the record.
Even for those who agree that Fournette shouldn’t be in tier three as a “Good Starter,” you may anticipate him to pop up in tier six, which consists of “Stable Starters.” Nicely, assume once more. James Conner, Damien Harris, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery and Devin Singletary spherical out the record of Linsey’s High 20 working backs heading into 2022. Non-starters comparable to Tony Pollard, Kareem Hunt and A.J. Dillon then acquired honorable mentions.
So, Why Was Fournette Snubbed?
Given the run of type Fournette is on – courting again to the Bucs’ run to the Tremendous Bowl and persevering with all through 2021 – it’s exhausting to grasp why he isn’t on PFF’s prime 20 record. He proved to be greater than only a “strong starter” final yr and was close to the higher echelon of backs by way of manufacturing. With PFF rankings, the location’s grading system must be thought of. May Fournette’s grades from 2021 be the explanation for his snub? It’s unlikely.
Fournette’s general grade of 75.1 ranked him No. 21 amongst all working backs in 2021. However the caveat there may be that gamers with far decrease snap counts – comparable to Pollard, D’Ernest Johnson, Rhamondre Stevenson, Rashaad Penny and Khalil Herbert – rank forward of him. All of them meet PFF’s snap depend minimal, however it nonetheless skews every thing only a bit. Fournette’s speeding grade of 80.0 ranked him No. 15. His 64.8 receiving grade and 56.3 cross block grade may’ve factored in, however out of all the backs that Linsey talked about in his record, he solely talked about blocking one time, and that was for James Conner.
That receiving grade, which feels low, remains to be greater than loads of the gamers ranked forward of him on PFF’s tier record. He posted a greater mark than Chubb, Mixon, Jacobs, Ekeler, Taylor, Najee Harris, Elliott, Prepare dinner and Singletary. And his general grade, although No. 21 amongst all working backs, nonetheless positioned him above Sanders, Montgomery, Najee Harris, Elliott, Singletary and Prepare dinner.
So, on the entire, it’s exhausting to see PFF’s grades being the explanation for his snub. And if it wasn’t the grading system, what was it? It actually wasn’t a scarcity of manufacturing or well being.
It’s simply curious, to say the least.